Camping in the Amazon Rainforest

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Camping in the Amazon rainforest is not for the faint of heart.
Camping in the Amazon rainforest is not for the faint of heart. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Producing nearly 20 percent of the world's oxygen, the Amazon rainforest has been called "the lungs of the world." It is the largest tropical rainforest on the planet, covering nearly half of Brazil and bordering eight countries in South America. Planning a camping trip to the region requires a lot of research, as some areas are dangerous and pose health risks, such as typhoid and malaria. It isn't illegal to explore the Amazon alone, but it is highly unadvisable; the terrain consists of many unmarked trails and paths, and without direction or guidance it is very easy to get lost. Caution aside, a trip through the Amazon rainforest is a memorable journey.

Rain Rain Go Away

It is best to plan a camping trip in the Amazon rainforest during dry season, which is between July and November. Sunshine isn't a given, but torrential downpours are more scarce. Note that the dry season is the hottest time of year and temperatures can reach over 100 F. Bring a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. During the wet season, which runs from December to June, rain falls almost every day in intense bursts that can cause flash flooding. Take heed if you plan to camp.

Don't Let Them Bug You

A tent is essential when camping in the Brazilian rainforest, and it must close securely, as insects and mosquitos can get through even the smallest gap in a zipper. The tent should be well ventilated to help air circulate in the forest's humid conditions. Bring a warm sleeping bag for cold nights, as well as a summer sleeping bag in case of hot weather. A light waterproof jacket is recommended for extra warmth and protection from rain, and securely fastened shoes are necessary to prevent insect bites. Long, light layers of clothing, substantial socks and a mosquito net are also important to help ward off bugs. Take a head torch for night travel as most areas do not have access to electricity. Cooking equipment and a camping stove are essential when camping in the region.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Take a guide with you as you explore the Amazon rainforest. These individuals have comprehensive knowledge about the region and know the safest places to camp to avoid dangerous insects or animals such as snakes. The Amazon is home to some of the most lethal species of both on the planet. Seek local recommendations for guides, as outings can vary in physical ability and price. Hire a tour guide with extensive experience, as he will be able to identify dangerous plants and animals. He should also have access to emergency equipment and speak your language.

Your Doc Knows Best

Travelers to the region should take precautions against malaria, as much of Brazil's rainforests are situated in malaria-affected zones. Yellow fever and typhoid vaccinations are also recommended, especially while camping. As a further precaution, avoid swimming in rivers, drink only purified or bottled water, and pack antidiarrheal medication. Check with your doctor before departure for up-to-date vaccination recommendations and other advice.

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